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Five ways that your house is a target for burglars in Lenton

Following the recent robberies in Lenton and Dunkirk, how can you protect you and your housemates?

It’s the beginning of a new academic year, you’re excited about moving into your first student house and all the joys that come with living with your uni pals; setting the toaster on fire, arguing over appropriate pursuits in the shower and playing music too loud.

But like many students in Lenton and Dunkirk have unfortunately discovered, their new abodes have become the target of local burglars. One student living in Dunkirk reported on Facebook that they had their MacBook, camera and jewelry stolen while they were in the shower in the next room.

This leaves many students feeling enormously unsafe and anxious in their own homes when they are supposed to be having the time of their lives. It is clear students have been handpicked as victims, but what are we doing that makes us so vulnerable? I have broken down the five most common mistakes students make with regards to security.

Not locking doors

Hey it's me, you're friendly Lenton robber!

The most common way that burglars enter homes is through the front door. It’s easy to forget to lock the door behind you when you leave bleary-eyed in the morning to go to a 9am lecture. Especially when you aren’t the last person to leave the house. Though it might add 10 seconds to your exit when you try to locate your keys, it’s worth it if it saves all the valuables in your house.

Leaving windows open

It’s been a warm evening, you left your bedroom window open to get some fresh air in and now you are downstairs living the dream and watching Bake Off with your housemates. If an opportunistic burglar sees an empty room with a window open, they will try their luck. Reminding everyone to shut their windows when they aren’t in their rooms is the easiest way to prevent people getting into your house.

Don't want the cold coming in too x

Leaving your keys by the window

When we first moved into our house, the spare keys for the house had been left on the windowsill in the kitchen. Given that I have a tendency to make all my dishes a little "chargrilled" the windows in the kitchen are frequently open. I was then able to demonstrate how a burglar could easily lean into our kitchen and take the keys to our prized new home and shed. If you brought a car to uni, this is particularly notable if you leave them within sight of a window at night. One website on home security suggested carrying out a "fake robbery" to test the measures you have taken – but I doubt your landlord would thank you for a smashed window.

Drawing attention to an empty house

Avoiding the fourth point on this list may require a little creativity on your part. If you want to keep it old school, leave a light on upstairs when you are all out and during holidays consider getting a light timer.

My house has gone a couple of steps further to protect. We have a noticeboard by the door where each housemate can say if they were in or out. As well as this, we've decided to add a "pseudo-housemate" to the noticeboard who would always be in as a potential safeguard… let’s call her "Susan".

We took this a step further in the last two weeks by deciding that if we are leaving the house empty then we shout behind us “See ya later ‘Susan’” giving the illusion that someone is there.

Me and Susan j-chilling

Making it clear you are a student house

There are clear signs when a house is a student house, usually the front room is a bedroom and the bins are over flowing. Taking care of the front of your house makes it seem more residential. Though I wouldn’t go as far as suggesting you leave pushing a pram with a rented baby in a couple of times a week, I would suggest keeping the curtains of a front bedroom shut as often as possible. A house that is clearly a student house is likely to be empty during the holidays and no one wants to come back from the Christmas break to find that the TV is missing.

"It is clear that students have been handpicked as victims, but what are we doing that makes us so vulnerable?

Living in a student house is great, but surviving on a student budget means that you can’t afford to take chances with your belongings and you shouldn’t have to deal with the psychological impact of having an intruder in your home for the year. So take a couple of extra seconds each day to keep your house secure. In the interests of security I, for one, will no longer be shouting the name Susan after this is published.